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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  October 8, 2014 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> ifill: the first patient diagnosed with ebola in the u.s. dies. we take you inside the c.d.c.'s war room and the fight to contain the virus at home and abroad. >> i worry about irrational fears of ebola. if you're a healthcare worker taking care of a patient with ebola, you better be scared and use that fear to make sure that you do absolutely everything right when you're caring for that patient. >> ifill: good evening, i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. also ahead this wednesday, president obama and military leaders weigh what more can be
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done to combat islamic state militants marching toward turkey. >> ifill: a new book explores what makes a great commander in chief and why americans might not want another abe lincoln. >> we want to turn the president into a combination of harrison ford and air force one and superman. and the realty is we don't have a president like that anymore. >> woodruff: plus, china's most famous artist, aei weiwei, barred from leaving the country, explores what it means to be free with an exhibition inside america's most notorious prison: alcatraz. >> we basically cannot touch the walls. we cannot touch anything. we cannot add anything. the hanging installation, the prisoners themselves, it was only there for a period of time. >> ifill: those are some of the stories we're covering on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> supported by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. more information at macfound.org >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting.
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and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: the liberian man who was diagnosed in dallas with ebola, died today. thomas eric duncan showed no symptoms when he arrived in texas last month, but he became the first confirmed case inside the u.s. officials said his body will be cremated. hours later, the head of the c.d.c. announced new screening, including fever checks for travelers from liberia, sierra leone and guinea. >> if any travelers are found either to have a fever or have a history of contact with ebola, then the on-site centers for disease control and prevention public health officer will further interview that individual, assess the
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individual, and take additional action as appropriate. >> woodruff: the measures take effect saturday at j.f.k. international airport in new york, and next week at international airports in newark, new jersey, washington, chicago and atlanta. >> ifill: the worldwide toll in the ebola outbreak has risen again. the world health organization put the casualty count today at nearly 3,900. that's out of 8,000 confirmed cases. and in spain, there was new unrest linked to the infection of a nurse. neil connery of independent television news is there, and filed this report. >> reporter: anger on madrid streets. the authorities' handling of this ebola crisis under attack. these protesters dragged by police from the block where the infected nurse and her husband lived. they were trying to stop the couples' dog from being put down by officials, but as the world beyond looks on, it's the bigger picture here that's getting
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serious concern. the nurse, theresa ramero ramos, seen here with the dog, says she may have been infected by touching her face with a glove as she changed her protective clothing. anna gomerth, a friend of the nurse, told me she's no faith in the government's response. the people are afraid and angry because they don't know anything about this illness or what's happening here. according to her union, the nurse start help three times over a week before she was tested for ebola. last tuesday, she reported a fever, but was told to take paracetemol. she rang the hospital again on thursday, but no action was taken. when she rang again on monday, she was told to go to a local hospital, where she was kept on a public ward behind only a fabric screen and some tape. only when her ebola test came back positive was she finally transported to the carlos the third. there's a deep sense of mistrust here at how the authorities are handling this crisis. aside from the medical efforts to contain this outbreak,
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regaining the public's faith in the coming hours and days is going to prove crucial. today, the spanish prime minister boasted the country's health system is one of the best in the world. back in the suburban block, where the infected nurse and her husband lived, the residents may beg to differ. >> ifill: we'll get a closer look at what the u.s. centers for disease control is doing to fight the outbreak, here and abroad, after the news summary. >> woodruff: islamic state forces made a new push on the syrian town of kobani this evening despite coalition air strikes. kurdish defenders told of fierce new fighting in the town near the turkish border. earlier, the kurds said the air attacks had slowed the militants advance. but they also warned the u.s.-led campaign needs to be even stronger. meanwhile, president obama met with u.s. commanders at the pentagon to discuss overall strategy in syria and iraq.
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>> our struggles continues alongside our partners. it remains a difficult mission. as i indicated from the start, this is not something going to be solved >> woodruff: the battle for kobani also triggered more violence in turkey, where kurds are demanding action to help their brethren in syria. police used water cannon and fired tear gas at demonstrators in the latest clashes. officials said at least 19 people have died in two days of rioting. >> woodruff: lawyers for kenya's president have asked the international criminal court to toss out charges of crimes against humanity against him. uhuru kenyatta is accused of sparking post-election violence in 2007 that took more than 1,000 lives. the defense argued today the case has collapsed. prosecutors said kenyatta's government has obstructed the investigation. >> ifill: two americans and a german won this year's nobel
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prize in chemistry today for making microscopes more powerful than anyone thought possible. u.s. researchers eric betzig and william moerner and german stefan hell used fluorescent molecules to see deep inside the inner workings of living cells. their achievements have greatly enhanced research into parkinson's and alzheimer's. >> woodruff: telecom giant at&t will pay $105 million to settle allegations it put bogus charges on customers' bills. the practice is known as cramming and it's been an issue for years, as users complained they were charged for services they never requested like daily horoscopes. tom wheeler chairs the federal communications commission. >> it's estimated that 20 million consumers a year are caught in this kind of trap. costing hundreds of millions of dollars. it stops today for at&t.
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>> woodruff: the settlement includes $80 million for customer refunds. >> ifill: minnesota vikings star adrian peterson appeared in court today in texas, on charges of child abuse for using a tree branch to punish his young son. peterson was surrounded by reporters and cameras as he arrived at a courthouse in conroe, texas. trial was tentatively set to begin december first. the running back has been suspended until the case is resolved. >> woodruff: the supreme court now has to decide whether workers should be paid for time spent in security screenings after shifts end. the screenings aim to prevent theft, but two former workers at online retailer amazon claimed they were kept waiting up to 25 minutes every day. business groups say employers could face billions in retroactive pay, if the workers win.
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>> ifill: wall street, roared back after the federal reserve showed it's in no hurry to raise interest rates. the dow jones industrial average gained 274 points, recouping all of yesterday's losses and closing at 16,994; the nasdaq rose 83 points to close at 4,468; the s&p 500 added 33, to finish near 1,969. >> woodruff: still to come on the newshour. inside the fight to stop ebola. can air power alone stop islamic state militants advances in syria and iraq? the changing legal landscape for same-sex marriage in the u.s. why american culture prevents modern-day presidents from being great. a new push to find the missing malaysian jetliner. and, a dissident artist explores the definition of freedom inside the walls of a prison. >> ifill: this was a sobering day in the battle against the ebola outbreak. as the death toll climbed, the first patient diagnosed in the u.s. died and plans for screening ramped up at major
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american airports. the c.d.c. is at the center of the government's response, both here and abroad. special correspondent kathleen mccleery got an inside look at how the agency is tackling the job. >> reporter: the emergency operations center at c.d.c. headquarters in atlanta never sleeps. a quiet home belies the friendly activity here. >> it's under 2014 ebola international. >> reporter: this is the nerve center for the effort to contin and control the ebola virus. c.d.c. director, interest thomas frieden. >> we work to protect americans and we do that with boots on the ground in every state in 50 countries around the world, we do that by the top quality science and scientists and we do that by action. >> we are the watch team here at the c.d.c. we are basically like the
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c.d.c.'s nin 911. >> reporter: gordon may oversees the watch station which gets calls from the public, media and health officials. >> they're seeking information on what to do with their patients, they're seeking information on waste disposal. they're also seeking information on protocols in the event that they do receive an ebola patient. >> reporter: the questions are fielded by others, about 150 in all who work in this high-tech hub. plasma screens display giant maps pinpointing places the virus has been found and areas where even more c.d.c. staff have been deployed. >> good morning, everybody. well come to monday. dinine of the e.o.c. activation. >> reporter: top managers meet daily to exchange updates on the number of cases and the global response. dr. barbara mann attends that meeting. her team is monitoring the texas investigation into the first case diagnosed in the u.s. and
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tracking people who may have been in contact with thomas duncan. after serious missteps in dallas, the c.d.c. and others face add flurry of criticism including the hospital's response when duncan arrived. >> this is the way i look at it is that preparedness is really a process, it's not a stage or an activity. it's a process, a state of mind. so what we need to do in this situation is to learn everything we can to try to make it go better. hopefully there won't be, but if there is another case. >> reporter: the c.d.c.'s attention goes well beyond the u.s. border. the global migration group focuses on air and sea travel, including outreach to passengers. the group's leader is dr. marty se etron. >> the most important thing we're trying to do is help fill in a gap between the public health sector and transportation sector in terms of readiness,
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our job is to train people to ask questions about symptoms, how to ask questions about exposure, risk, whether they had contact with an ebola case and how to measure objectively in a safe way temperatures of people who are intending to leave, identify those people and move them out and prevent sick people from getting on airplanes that could potentially spread. >> are you focusing mostly on liberia? >> no, all of the -- >> reporter: epidemiologist amy summers is a disease detective just back from liberia. more people have died there than any other country. summers had to find those that may have been exposed, a process called contact tracing. >> there are a lot of challenges in liberia and i think probably the host challenging part of it is that there's a lot of stigma attached to people there, so people are basically running away because nobody want to be associated with it, so there is one case that we went out with and, by the time we got there,
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all of the contacts of that case had fled the area. >> those in west africa process specimens to determine if patients had ebola. in atlanta scientists are working on genetic sequencing to see if the virus changes. >> i worry when people have irrational fears of ebola but there are racial fears as well. if you are a healthcare worker taking care of a patient with ebola you better be scared and use that fear to make sure that you do absolutely everything right when you're caring for that patient. >> well, you can go over to the -- >> reporter: the c.d.c. has sent scores of its own staff to africa, but many more are needed. that's why they're offering hands-on exercises like this one in alabama earlier this week. 36 health care workers came to this rural spot to learn how to put on personal protective equipment, suits, masks, boots and gloves. dr. michael young, an influenza
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expert who turned his focus to ebola put the curriculum together. >> what we try to do is create a facility here that mimics an ebola treatment unit in west africa. we're not trying to re-create a u.s. hospital where there's much higher levels of technology lable, and we're not trying to re-create a general hospital in west africa. it's a specific facility for caring for ebola patients. what we ask our students to do is do a practical, hand-on exercise every day of the three-day course. today they did a simulated blood draw. >> for the nurse, drawing blood is easy but wearing heavy gear may be tougher when she leaves for liberia this weekend. >> it's warm here. it's hot in west africa. it's a challenge being able to see when it fogs. it's a challenge, the dexterity of your hands when you handle
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any fluids that could possibly infect you is most important and making sure that you do that safely. >> reporter: captain paul reed will be in charge of clinical operations at the new hospital the u.s. is building in liberia. the public healt public health r has been deployed to hot spots many times but, for the father of four this, assignment feels different. >> my family is used to me traveling and being deployed over a long period of time, a 20-year career. this one has a little bit different flavor, obviously, and there's some anxiety on the part of my family as you can imagine, but they know i will be smart about what needs to be done and i'm safe as well as the folks i'm taking care of are safe. >> reporter: but training doesn't happen overnight. the challenge is keeping pace with the fast-moving epidemic. >> we can run 35 to 40 students per course. we can run one course per week. we intend to run a course every week until the demand goes away
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and that takes a year or two, we'll run it for a year or two. >> a single laps can result in an infection of a healthcare worker so we want to make sure it's done well and that's why we're doing this detailed, in-depth training for anyone who wants to assist with the response as an initial training. but also the stakes are so high in africa, if we don't stop it in west africa, the risk of it spreading to other parts of africa is very great. and if that happens, it could be around for years and a global threat for years, and that would have impact on how we do medical care in this country, that would have impact on travel and trade and economies and political stability. so the stakes are very high. >> reporter: those high stakes drive the c.d.c. effort, but the question remains, can the agency move fast enough to combat the worst ebola outbreak the world has ever seen?
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>> woodruff: online, you can hear more from the healthcare workers and what's going through their minds as they prepare to go to west africa at pbs.org/newshour. >> woodruff: president obama's meeting at the pentagon today comes as there are considerable doubts over whether the u.s.-led coalition can stop and roll back the islamic state group's advances. to help assess the campaign against the militant group, i'm joined by michele flournoy, former undersecretary of defense for policy during the first term of the obama administration. she's now chief executive officer at the center for a new american security. and derek harvey he was an intelligence officer and special adviser to the commander of u.s. forces in iraq. he's now director for the global initiative on civil society and conflict at the university of south florida. we well come both of you -- we welcome both of you back to the
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program. derek harvey, first the reports we had earlier in the program are it looks as if the town of kobani on syria's border with turkey may be about to fall to the islamic state. is that what you're hearing and, if so, how big a loss is this? >> well, i think that's what is happening in kobani and it's unfortunate for that population there. there is significant offensive activity by the islamic state. they're using combined arms -- tanks, mortars, artillery and infantry dnr and they're coming in on a city from at least three directions. it is expected to fall some time in the next three to five days according to the source i'm talking to. >> woodruff: and how big a loss, michele flournoy, if this happens? >> i think it's worsened because it is right up against th the turkish border and that will
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cause cross border incursions in some areas. so it's of concern but i think we have to be realistic in our expectations. this campaign won't be able to stop every i.s.i.s. movement or to roll them back in every place. where we need to focus is really on the most strategic areas and building up the ground forces that can retake and hold territory. air power alone cannot do that. >> woodruff: secretary of state kerry was quoted as saying it wouldn't be a strategic defeat if kobani goes down. colonel harvey, do you agree? >> i think it's significant if kobani goes down just like it's signature when we lost mosul and you have the humanitarian crisis and the massacres that ensues from that, and we have the capability to intercede to have an impact like we did not take in the case of the yidsies.
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if i was to give this campaign a grade to date. it's a d, maybe d plus. it lacks intensity. it isn't driving the enemy in a way that we need it to. it's taking some initiative away. it's degraded them some, but, overall, i.s.i.s. continues to act like a pac-man in the video game, impossibling up territory in syria and in iraq, and that's something that is going to continue to happen, unless we change the air campaign's posture, increase the intensity, resourcing and improve intelligence. >> woodruff: michele flournoy, what does it say that this town and other parts of syria and iraq are going down despite this air campaign on the part of the u.s. and its allies? >> i agree we should ramp up the intensity of the air campaign and try to be more pro active and get out ahead of some of i.s.i.s.'s mostly and so forth, but what's really going to make a difference on the ground is when the iraqis are able, with
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our help and our support, to really start engaging on the ground when the kurds and the syrian opposition forces are able to engage on the ground. the problem is that is going to take time, reconstituting the forces, enabling them to be fully effective will take time and that's the frustrating part now. >> woodruff: what does that waiting time mean, colonel harvey? >> i think we're looking at a year or more, and that's going to be unfortunate for the people of iraq and syria, but it's also going to give the islamic state a great deal of opportunity to entrench themselves, to improve their capabilities and make it that much harder for us to dig them out in these communities that they're becoming well entrenched in, in iraq and syria. a year or more is too long, and we just have not put the resources in place to support building iraqi security forces or partnering with sunni-arab
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tribes in both iraq and syria in order to build the capability for a force on the ground that we can work with. it's a missing component and there's not enough energy and effort into this at this point. >> woodruff: michele flournoy, does this put pressure on the administration to either find a way to get boots on the ground by the u.s. or get boots on the ground faster by countries in the region? >> i think the pressure is to actually move the advise and assist and training with the iraqis faster and as colonel harvey said to more fully engage the sunni tribes to try to get them to start taking on i.s.i.l. i don't think the answer is large conventional u.s. ground bonds because ultimately you have to have the indigenous folks on the ground owning this to be a sustainable outcome. >> woodruff: harvey, you talk
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to people in the military, what are they saying about how they view the success of this air campaign and, from another perspective, we're hearing, now, complaints of a different sort in iraq, the u.s. employing apache helicopters, something that wasn't expected. what are the perspectives you're hearing from folks you're talking to? >> there's frustration about the inability to bring resources to bear to a fight that we have that we can engage with. the intensity as michele has talked about is not there. we don't even have ac-130 gunships deployed which are ideal for this type of combat in this type of theater. so there's a lot left on the table that commanders would like to be able to engage in order to improve the air campaign. secondly, the attack aviation that came out of baghdad international airport, entering a nation in an attack manner is
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incredibly important in this environment and a capability they would like to have but it brings risk. the risk is helicopters are more vulnerable to ground fire. if you lose a helicopter in this environment, you will have to have a quick reaction force to get in there and extract the people. you will have to have medivac. that puts the other elements at risk. you need the capabilities in place. i'm afraid of a mo mogadishu incident that does not play well internationally and at home. it's a significant problem if we do this. >> woodruff: i want to come back to his comment that folks in the military are telling him there is capacity left on the table by the u.s. >> i think that's often true in operations. the question is, you know, aligning that with a strategy, and i think here there has to be a discussion about whether there's more we should be doing, whether the risk of doing more is acceptable, and whether it
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really fundamentally changes the timeline. can we get to real progress against i.s.i.s. on the ground inside of a year? not a full year, but bringing the time line forward, that's the real question. >> tough questions. michele flournoy, colonel derek harvey, we thank you. >> thank you. >> ifill: now, to gay marriage, an issue that's once again roiling republican politics for the mid-term elections and beyond. federal courts have been striking down gay marriage bans right and left, and then on monday, the supreme court stepped in, again. the justices refused to hear appeals from five states that wanted to keep banning sam-sex marriage. six other states are also affected by the court's refusal. competitive senate races are underway in at least five states
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where gay marriages are or could soon now be legal, virginia, colorado, kansas, north carolina and in west virginia, where republican shelley moore capito is running against democrat natalie tennant for the seat being vacated by jay rockefeller. she addressed the issue in a debate last night. >> my voting record and my personal belief is that marriage is between a man and woman and i have a long history on that dating back to when i was in the west virginia legislature. but i believe the decision that's been made is basically saying that the states will make their own decisions, and i will abide by what the state of west virginia decides in this matter. >> ifill: but a fault line has already developed among republicans. texas senator ted cruz, who may run for president in 2016, is criticizing the court itself. >> we shouldn't have un-elected judges striking down our marriage laws trying to impose
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their public policy notion, on the state of texas and on states where the elected legislature where states have made the decision to preserve and protect traditional marriage. >> ifill: far from ending the political part of the gay marriage debate, monday's action seems to have reignited it. another federal appeals court struck down bans on gay marriage in idaho and nevada yesterday. but at the court today, justice anthony kennedy immediately granted idaho's emergency petition to delay action. we take a closer look at the political and legal landscape surrounding same-sex marriage with: jonathan allen, washington bureau chief for "bloomberg news." jonathan, did the supreme court's action force this on to the mid-term election agenda? >> absolutely, as you showed just a moment ago, it's already something that's being discussed in senate debates. within 24 hours of the decision, you had political candidates talking about it, feeling they had to. i think the parties, particularly the republican party committees don't want to
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talk about it but the candidates will have to. it's moved out of the court system and back into the political arena. >> ifill: what are the reason for the republicans and democrats not want to talk about it? >> the big reason for republicans to not want to talk about it is the american public has shifted on this issue. if you look at gallup polling in 2006, 42% of americans approved of same-sex marriage. now you're talking about 56%. there's been a change over the last few years, you can see it in the democratic party primary in 2008. the major candidates said they were for civil unions or domestic partner benefits but wouldn't embrace same-sex marriage. now in 2014, looking at 2016, all of the major democratic candidates are going to be in favor of same-sex marriage. so you've seen that happen that way, a big shift in public opinion. as far as republicans go, there's a division in their party between those who want to promote traditional marriage and those who think that this is an issue that has already passed them by. we saw mike huckabee the former
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governor of arkansas and former presidential candidate stand with ted cruz and say, look, i want to stand with a party that has guts to fight on this issue. it's not over, and if the republican party won't fight on it, he said he's going to become an independent. >> ifill: let's talk about another well-known conservative also keeping his eye on 2016, the governor of louisiana, bobby jindal. he's not saying what ted cruz is saying. >> yeah, i mean, there are positions all over the place right now. i think this is a problem for the republican party. it's very divided and i think you're going to see some long-time conservatives take a different position on same-sex marriage if they're running for president in 2016 than has traditionally been the party's message. rob portman, ohio conservative in the senate, somebody liking at 2016, he was the first republican in the senate to support same-sex marriage after his son revealed he was guy then he came out and supported it. so there's a republican party struggling with the issue.
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i think the democrats don't want the talk about it at the moment because you have a lot of tough races in swing states where gay marriage is not as approved as mention ace on the national level and i think the democratic party committees don't want to hurt candidates in those places by trumpeting those issues. >> ifill: is there a comparison to be drawn? reminds me of what the parties are drawing on immigration where they disagree and want to move to something else. >> that's something you're seeing. you're seeing in the republican party there's division on immigration and a portion of the party that thinks it really has to get into the sort of situation where you are legalizing folks who have been here and then another portion of the party. the democrats, overwhelming senate vote for comprehensive immigration reform that does border security and temporary workers and the legalization process. so i think that's an issue democrats are comfortable with and republicans are having a hard time with, except for
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d.p.s. in certain swing states where that issue isn't helpful to them. >> ifill: the supreme court ruled on the hobby lobby case, a free speech and religious case, and people said the culture wars are back. now they are not to rule on gay marriage, at least for now. seems like the culture wars are over or are we going too fast? >> i think the culture wars are back. used to be the republicans were effectively using social issues against democrats as a wedge, they split the democratic party. what you've seen more recently is a pendulum shift where democrats figured out how todom unified on major social issues, whether abortion or same-sex marriage, and use them against a more divided republican party. each party is trying to calibrate, trying to reset, reframe and to find consensus and union. right now republicans don't have it on the major social issues and you will continue to hear
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democrats talk about those issues. i think they really invite and embrace the culture wars now in a way that they didn't just eight or ten years ago. >> ifill: a lot of calibration between now and november. jonathan allen of bloomberg news. thank you. >> ifill: my pleasure. >> woodruff: next, do americans expect too much from their presidents? and, what makes a great commander in chief? margaret warner explores those questions with the author of a new book. >> warner: aaron david miller is known for his decades of work on u.s. diplomacy in the middle east in four administrations. but now he's returned to his training in american history with a new book: "the end of greatness: why america can't have (and doesn't want) another great president." he argues there have only been three truly great presidents, george washington, abraham lincoln, and franklin roosevelt. and that americans should stop
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searching for another one. we spoke at mount vernon, home of george washington. aaron miller thank you for joining us. >> pleasure margaret. >> warner: now you write here that americans need to get over their obsession or you call it an addiction in the search for great president. why? what if you search for something you can't have? that's the predicament we're in. we've created a sense of expectation in a job that's already somewhat already impossible. let's say it's implausible, given the nature and the complexity of the presidency, the terrifying con i thin contit politics, so many factors out of our control and we want to turn the president into a combination of harrison ford in air force one and superman. and the reality is we can't have presidents like that anymore. that's the real issue. we have to stop pining for the
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presidents, the great trance -- transformative ones because those won't come back, seems to me, and let the presidents be good and stop expecting them to be great. >> warner: what are the three greats-- washington, lincoln, and f.d.r.-- have the others didn't or achieve that the others didn't? >> transforming a nation country crisis. that defines greatness. without crisis and i'm not talking about marginal crisis or a serious crisis i'm talking about a crisis that encumbers the nation for a sustained period of time. that is what separates the capacity of the greats. the undeniable greats i call them the indispensables washington, lincoln and f.d.r. the three greatest challenges the nation faced produced fortunately for us our three greatest presidents. >> warner: but you also say they all have things in common you call them the three "c's." >> i do. the three "c's" of presidential greatness, the cocktail if you will. you mix them all together you get a great president.
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first of all, the crisis which opens the door, the founders basically set it up this way. they wanted an energetic executive but they didn't want power to be irresponsibly collected. so crisis is what opens the door. then if you have character and capacity you can figure out what to do with the crisis and that in essence is my definition of a greatness. nation in crisis out of which the undeniables extract transformative change which fundamentally alters the nation for the better. >> and what is the essential character that's needed? >> the internal definition of character, the world drive the ambition, to harnest futures to a brighter enterprise, you put that together and get my definition of character which is a p you put that together and you get my definition of character which produces a pretty compelling personality even though we couldn't in the case of washington and lincoln see
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them or hear them. >> warner: go back to your point about the fact that our search for greatness in a president that keeps them from being good what do you mean by that? >> we have a cardboard, cartoonish view of leadership, great man, and some big woman is elected. high principal, lofty vision, great repetition and somehow by force of personality where real change happens that's not the way that change happens in america. >> warner: does it affect the way they approach things? >> yeah, you have to read the real estate correctly alright. lincoln inherited the most profound crisis of any president, he also midway during his tenure believed he could extract a transformative change out of it. it was emancipation. he waited for the exact moment and he dressed it up not has some transformative declaration principle but as a war measure. the emancipation proclamation. barack obama inherits two crisis, the greatest economic
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recession since the great depression, and the two longest wars in american history, and believes somehow the stage is set for his capacity to transform the nation at home and abroad. he misread the real estate. i'm not blaming him. every president aspires but you need to understand the real estate and figure out what you can do and what you can't. >> warner: now, are you really prepared to say we will never have another great president? >> it would be terrific if we could have washington, lincoln and fdr in a modern guise but the realities i'm pretty confident we can't what we need are good presidents and not good in the sense good in the sense that they are competent and effective. good in the sense that they are morally resident and they understand the law. harry truman once said that nixon read the constitution but he really didn't understand it. good in the sense that they are emotionally intelligent. they are not haunted by and
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aspirations to greatness that go beyond the capacity to achieve. you give me presidents like that and we will be on the way to getting to address some of the crisis that >> warner: you are a middle east expert you spent your entire career in that did you have any hesitation about wading into this ground where so many presidential historians have tread i mean some people might say frankly what's aaron miller's standing to offer a thesis? >> it is a national conversation, a conversation every american has the right to participate in because the presidency is ours, and i have a right, an incentive as all of my fellow americans do to participate in this debate and to judge and evaluate our presidents, not unrealistically, or aaspirationly. i wrote the book to begin a conversation. >> thank you.
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>> warner: aaron miller, thank you. >> thanks so much, margaret. >> woodruff: we have more from margaret's conversation with aaron david miller, on why, of the three great presidents, he thinks george washington actually had the hardest job of all, that's at pbs.newshour.org. >> ifill: now, the continuing search for a missing jetliner that captured the attention of the world. more than six months ago, malaysian airlines flight 370 mysteriously disappeared en route from kuala lumpur to beijing, triggering a massive search the plane was thought to have crashed somewhere in or near the southern indian ocean, with 239 people on board. a nearly two-month-long search for wreckage and clues proved futile yielding no definitive answers about just what happened to the plane. it's been months. but now the search is back on. jeffrey brown has more. >> brown: the break gave investigators to create a map of the understood water seabed and the search was resumed monday. three ships will be involved in the next phase which could last as long as a year.
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ships and planes from 14 countries served vast areas from the south china sea to other regions. tonight, focusing on the continuing investigation and many questions that remain and the technology of tracking planes. our science correspondent miles o'brien is the producer and reporter for the report titled "why planes vanish" and joins me from boston. so, miles, as the search starts, where do things stand? a what are they focused on now? >> reporter?they're focus openeg area. it's hard to say we're not still at square one on this one. that's an amazing thing to say so many months after the loss of flight 370. engineers in this company which operates communications satellites which was part of what was equipped on mh370, were able to turn capability into a
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positioning tool and define the location in the southern indian ocean as a search zone for the flight which went down seven hours after it disappeared from radar screens. we know it's in the hemisphere by virtue of the mathematics but it's in a big swath, they can't define a bullseye. so we've got to be ready for a long search here. >> brown: so the mystery of where it is and what happened. i know your documentary is looking at various possibilities of what might have happened from accident to human intervention. how much -- is the evidence pointing in any particular way? >> i wouldn't take anything off the table yet. all the scenarios you've heard and discussed are still in play, as far as i'm concerned. it's very difficult, however, to walk away from a scenario that doesn't involve some sort of deliberate action, a human handbag involved in some way. after it fell off the radar screens, it made a 180-degree
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turn back toward the malaysian peninsula. the plane took a right turn, threaded the needle between airspace between indonesia and malaysia and flew off primary radar screens at the northern tip of indonesia. that route does not bespeak a plane that is crippled and the crew is unable to communicate or a ghost plane, if you will. that tells me somebody was manipulating controls. what was happening beyond that is difficult to say. >> brown: bringing the story forward, you're looking at what can be done to better track planes now and in the future. we have a clip from the film, it's on the technology. let's look at that. >> here they're using automatic dependence surveillance broadcast. it is the keystone component of next gen, an aircraft outfitted
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with this system determines location using g.p.s. and transmits that data back to controllers via radio which has a greater range than radar. but still, when an aircraft flies over the ocean, it will be out of range. so the industry is testing a space-based system where planes will report to locations via satellite, wherever they are in the world. there are numerous technical details that need to be worked out, but adsb could eventually make blind spots a thing of the past. >> we have currently one aircraft under adsb coverage this moment, a united flight from chicago going to beijing. >> the aircraft depicted in white is using adsb to broadcast it's exact g.p.s. location automatically once a second. >> we see the aircraft, we know it's there. we know exactly where the aircraft is at all times. >> brown: you refer there to technical details to be worked
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out. i know another barrier to something like that has been cost. ow near or far are we from a technology like that to track planes in the future? >> well with, it's a -- well, it's a problem. it's taken a long time. the next generation technology has been slow and criticized for being poorly funded and not implemented well. it needs to happen. i mean, jeff, it's the 21s 21st century where we're relying on 1940s technology to track an airplane's radar which has a range of 200 miles and that's it. only 2% of the surface of the earth is covered by radar. so we have satellites that can do this, the technology is off the shelf, it's just a matter of forcing the regulators to move quickly, funding it properly and insisting that the airlines equip their airplanes with this. and it's difficult. the airline, this is a tough business and the airlines don't want the put this investment into this sort of technology unless they have to, frankly.
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>> so there are so many pieces to this story. i wonder as you went back to look at it all, what jumped out at you as most interesting or surprising or as still sticking with you? >> well, it's astonishing to me, number one, that an airliner could vanish in this day and age. it's astonishing. >> brown: everybody for so long, that's never gone away, right? >> i can't get out of my head that after all these seven months, we haven't seen a seat cushion, a flight magazine or a shoe that has been floating in the ocean as some evidence there is, in fact, wreckage out there. you know, when air france 447 crashed into the atlantic ocean in 2009, they ultimately picked up 3,000 pieces of floating debris in the ocean. so when planes go into the ocean, it's not like they just go in cleanly and disappear that way. there will be something floating. so where is it? i'm mystified at that, and i
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remain -- i want them thinking i was going to have an answer to where this plane is and i walked away still wondering. >> brown: do you think it will be solved eventually? >> i don't think they'll stop looking. they can't. it's a huge, huge region. we're going to have to be very patient. here's my worry, though -- when they find the black boxes, and they will one day, when they find those black boxes, it may not answer the mystery. if it shows it was a perfectly good operating aircraft that ran out of fuel and you have a cockpit voice recorder that is silent, what has that told you? you don't know who did it or why. >> brown: why planes vanished on no va, miles o'brien, thank you very much. >> you're well come, jeff. >> woodruff: finally tonight, a world renowned artist, barred from leaving his home country of china explores the idea of freedom in a new exhibit in america's most notorious prison. san francisco public media
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kqed's mina kim takes us behind the scenes. >> reporter: so much about this exhibit is different beginning with how you get there, by ferry to an island in the middle of san francisco bay. most of these passengers are going to tour the legendary former prison, alcatraz. within its crumbling walls, seven new works were stumbled upon by artist and chinese dissident aei weiwei. we came to see the process of installing an exhibit. this will take up an entire space? >> entire space. there are more than 100 kites that comprise the body of the dragon. >> reporter: exhibit curator. the artist had been released from detention by china for alleged tax evasion. authorities say it was more
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about his suppressing criticism of the chinese government. >> the exhibition is what is freedom. as you walk through the works, you get a sense that this is a very central theme, a very important idea he is addressing. >> reporter: he has been unable to leave china since 2011 after authorities confiscated his passport. finding freedom within constraints is a worthy challenge judging by his age studio. his inability to leave the country is hard. >> for an artist to be unable to see the venue and unable to interact with the audience, if i had to imagine the toughest restriction of an exhibition, that would be it. >> reporter: he conveys the situation in a giant dragon kite installed in a prison where prisoners once made uniforms for the army. >> it will be suspended, flying, free, but also restricted within the building, so this is a
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really interesting conversation between control and freedom. >> but what does it mean to be in prison? what is a prison? >> reporter: so much about this exhibit is different, beginning with how you get there. >> for most visitors to alcatraz, this is probably the only prison they ever will be close to. so what thoughts are evoked when they come to a prison? we felt that the aei weiwei exhibition would be an opportunity for visitor to explore the thoughts. >> reporter: the park service had to seek clearing from the u.s. state department to host one of the most vocal itics of china's government on federal land. the challenges of bringing the work to alcatraz only added to the injury. the entire island is an historical site without a power grid or freshwater source. >> we basically cannot touch the walls. we cannot touch anything. we cannot add anything. it's a hanging installation, like the prisoners themselves,
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it is only there for a period of time. >> reporter: this piece was shipped by barge and pushed up a 13-story hill, transformed solar collectors fromty bet. some of alcatrazs best-known prisoners include al capone or the anline brothers who plotted a daring escape. last known are the political prisoners held on the island during the time alcatraz was a military prison. phelps oversees visitor programs at alcatraz in. >> the military prison era, around 1985, there was a group of indian elders that were brought to alcatraz because they refused to send their children to school under the army's direction. they wanted to raise their children in the hopi tradition.
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>> reporter: a hopi chant echoes against the walls of a former psychiatric observation cell. here are the poetry and music of people in prison around the world for expressing beliefs. and prison riots who criticized vladimir putin. in a piece titled "trace" the faces of more than 175 dissidents are fashioned in leggos. largely unknown. aei weiwei wants to make them familiar. >> and to have the opportunity to find out more about their lives and stories has been enriching. >> reporter: the exhibit includes position phis for the men and women held in the middle east, africa, asia, and there's
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edward showe snowden wanted fork u.s. classified documents. some consider him a patriot, others a traitor. here, visitors are asked to write preaddressed postcards who people who are exiled and who are deemed prisoners of conscience. chad says i walk the fine line. >> there's a huge debate about who aei weiwei is in the sense the folks in the art world are concerned he's too much activist and not enough artist. the vehicles in the activist world think the opposite. >> reporter: his activism gives him a stardom few others enjoy. his artwork is in high demand. will his work change? >> art done well has the ability to communicate viscerally issues that -- or to snake its way into
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us through beauty or through the way we view it that a stray demonstration or poster would never achieve. >> reporter: the show runs until the 26th. >> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day. the first patient diagnosed with ebola inside the u.s., thomas duncan of liberia, died at a dallas hospital. and, federal officials announced new ebola screening at major international airports for travelers arriving from west africa. >> ifill: on the newshour online >> woodruff: and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. we'll see you on-line and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us here at the pbs newshour, thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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>> and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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